Applications for bridging loans for innovative companies top €500 million

Since it was launched on 29 April, more than a thousand startups, scale-ups, and innovative SMEs have applied for a Coronavirus Bridging Loan (Corona-Overbruggingslening, COL) or the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme for innovative Startups and Scale-ups (Tijdelijk Overbruggingskrediet Programma innovatieve Start- en Scaleups, TOPSS). Altogether, these companies employ nearly 12,000 FTEs. Applications totalling more than €500 million have been made to one or other of the two schemes.

Acute need among startups, scale-ups, and innovative SMEs

Initially, the cabinet set aside €100 million for the Coronavirus Bridging Loan (COL). In just one week, over 1,000 companies applied for €385 million through the COL, an amount that even exceeds the expectations of the Regional Development Corporations (Regionale Ontwikkelingsmaatschappijen, ROMs) that are implementing the scheme.

Invest-NL is making €100 million available for the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme for innovative Startups and Scale-ups (TOPSS). For TOPPS applications, Invest-NL has set a lower limit of €2 million. In the first week, Invest-NL received 21 applications, seeking total financing in excess of €130 million. Invest-NL must now assess each application on its merits and, if the application is approved, will pay a maximum of 50% of the financing itself.

‘Based on research, we had estimated that at least €350 million would be needed to help startups, scale-ups and innovative SMEs through this crisis,’ says Rinke Zonneveld (Director InnovationQuarter) on behalf of the ROMs ‘The budget of €100 million was a first step. The fact that applications for the COL are already almost four times that amount is indicative of the acute need among innovative Dutch companies. A rough estimate based on initial assessments is that around 50-60% of the applications will be successful and, thanks to the co-financing we are requesting from shareholders, around 35-40% of the total sum applied for will be needed for applications received thus far. This would mean that the figure of €100 million has already been used up by applications in the first week.’

Nils Beers, CEO, says: ‘This huge demand confirms how much money is urgently needed to keep these innovative companies afloat. We will continue facilitating and monitoring applications via the central portal, and the data from this will also be used to continually evaluate whether the current measures are enough.’